We need to support City of Culture
TODAY The Herald is throwing its weight behind the push to become the next UK City of Culture.
We believe this is an essential step toward this city realising its full potential and achieving our ambition for growth.
It is a cause behind which we can all unify. Already we can see business chiefs, politicians and cultural leaders speaking with one voice to express their enthusiasm for a successful bid.
The council and university have each pledged £20,000 to help prepare the case for Plymouth ahead of the formal bidding process.
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They should both be commended for having the courage to take this important step. The council in particular is under extreme financial pressure – we have reported how it is faced with making more than £17m in savings for the next year. It would have been easy for them to dismiss this as a gamble we can ill afford. Instead they have demonstrated they recognise a City of Culture bid as a worthwhile investment which could underpin the resurgence of our fortunes. This is time for steady nerves, imagination and a long term view.
Now we need the people of the city to embrace the idea and really push to make it become a reality.
David Parlby, chief executive of the Plymouth's Chamber of Commerce, has led the call for businesses in particular to step up and play their part.
If we succeed we will all reap the rewards. Don't be fooled by the name – City of Culture is not just about creating a series of exclusive shows for a high-brow elite. No, look at the benefits the European prize has delivered around our country in cities like Liverpool and Glasgow. In a few weeks Londonderry will officially open itself for business as the UK's cultural capital and we will undoubtedly see it flourish.
It is hoped Plymouth's bid would attract a host of glittering popular events including the Brit Awards and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. And there is a clear economic benefit – the returns could be huge both in terms of generating cash and jobs.
There is no guarantee we would win a bid but this is a risk we have to take – it is a risk any city with ambition must be willing to take.